Word began to spread in early April among Amazon.com incentive industry partners and others in the industry. It seems that after a short, two-and-a-half-year foray into the incentive marketplace, the online retail giant is pulling out. The move came as a surprise to most, though a few industry insiders say they saw the warning signs of a pullout over the last few months. Naturally, there is quite a lot of speculation about why Amazon is pulling out of the market. David Peer, VP of client Services at Hinda Incentives, suggests that the sales tax issue loomed large. "Historically, Amazon has avoided collecting sales tax in states by contending it didn't have nexus – a physical presence – in certain states," Peer says. "But with its affiliate network in the incentive industry, it was being argued that they did have a presence. And that was something it didn't want to be mired in." Whatever the reason for its departure, there's no doubt that Amazon.com's short stay in the incentive market has raised the bar for those who remain. Mike Ruege, Executive VP of U.S. Motivation, says that "Amazon has forced us all to be a little better about how we run our business and to make the experience for the customer a far better one by giving them the same choice and empowerment they have in the consumer marketplace." Mike Hadlow, CEO of Engagement Technology LLC, agrees that Amazon's presence in the marketplace has raised the bar for other incentive companies, "particularly related to product availability, range of products, customer service and increased availability of products in lower price ranges." Hadlow notes that the Universal Rewards Exchange also lets customers take advantage of greater customization opportunities – custom packaging and messaging to increase the trophy value of awards – and make greater use of their incentive programs to build engagement and establish closer relationships with employees, channel partners and customers. "With Amazon – and the requirement that Amazon packaging and inserts be used – companies lost some of their ability to take advantage of those opportunities," he says.
The Enterprise Engagement Alliance will hold its first annual EEA Networking Expo at the Doral Arrowwood Hotel Conference Center in Rye Brook, NY, June 3-5, 2010. The event is designed to help organizations profit from engaging their key audiences and engineer new ways to use rewards and recognition to drive performance. A slate of interactive education sessions will enable attendees to share the latest and most effective policies, procedures, strategies and tactics in the field of engagement, offering unique, actionable ideas and information they can use to boost performance and profitability, and build relationships with all key audiences. Exhibitors representing the top products, programs and performance-improvement companies will be available during eight hours of dedicated exhibit time, as well as at other networking events and activities during the EEA Networking Expo, to share their extensive expertise with attendees. The Doral Arrowwood is convenient to all major metropolitan areas in the Boston/NYC/Philadelphia/Washington, DC corridor, located only 10 minutes from Westchester Country Airport and 40 minutes from New York's LaGuardia airport. For more information about the Enterprise Engagement Alliance Networking Expo, go to www.eeaexpo.com
Bulova Corporation recently introduced its newest technology platform, Bulova Precisionist. Precisionist was developed by Bulova in cooperation with its parent company, the Citizen Watch Company, in response to Bulova-led research which paved the way for the development of a technology that supports the company's goal of providing distinctive and beautifully designed watches
In 2009, the combined use of prepaid and gift cards showed a five percentage point decline, from 66% to 61% of consumers, reflecting a decrease of 11 million users, according to a recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research. However, indicators from leading stakeholders in the gift card market suggest that this decline has been halted and a turnaround is now underway. Notably, both American Express and BlackHawk Networks reported increasing gift card revenue in 2009. The study also revealed that the use of gift cards demonstrates a clear age progression, with heaviest usage concentrated in consumers under age 45. Other highlights:
For more information on this study, go to: www.javelinstrategy.com/news/pressroom
Joe O'Brien, a sales and marketing executive with over 25 years experience in the travel and meetings and incentives industries, has joined Dittman Incentive Marketing as Director of Sales. O'Brien will be setting the strategic direction for Dittman's growing Independent Sales Consultant channel. He will also oversee new business acquisition and client retention. Prior to joining Dittman Incentive Marketing, O'Brien was Vice President of Sales at Premiere Global Sports
Incentium, LLC recently announced that Rich Phillips has been named President, Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. Phillips, a veteran loyalty and incentive executive, was most recently President of Maritz Loyalty and Motivation
Carlson Marketing recently announced the hiring of Sherry Derby Kapralos as Senior Director of Business Development. Kapralos had been at American Express for 15 years – most recently as Vice President and General Manager, Relationship Management. She is active in the Corporate Event Marketing Association, Meeting Professionals International and the Marketing Executives Networking Group.
A recently-released research report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance takes an in-depth look at the 2009 annual meeting of brokers and management personnel from a major healthcare provider. The goal of the event was to implement – and measure the results of – a program of training, industry updates, relationship building and networking opportunities designed to increase sales and profits in specific markets and engage channel partners with the provider's brand. The company was looking to obtain a clearer understanding of the return on investment (ROI) it could expect for the event, and obtain hard data on participants' attitudes, learning, behaviors and actual outcomes following the event to help make decisions about improving future programs. The company used the ROI of Engagement Group to collect and analyze the event data. Initial results show the event had a profound impact on the way brokers thought and felt about the company (dubbed "Allsante, Inc." for the purposes of this study). Participants were found to have more trust in the company, more confidence that Allsante would do what it says it will do, and more confidence that the company's products will meet customers' and brokers' needs. Participants also reported better relationships with Allsante staff and a better understanding of the company value proposition. This also translated into brokers presenting and quoting Allsante products more often and, in turn, selling more product.
For a copy of the research study, The 'ROI in Channel Partner Conferences' – A Case Study, click here.
The June/July issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine will be mailing in a few weeks. Here's a preview of what you'll find inside:
A pair of articles examines this critical building block of engagement from two different perspectives. The first, Internal Collaboration: Why Partnering Works, by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, Ph.D., notes that great partnerships don't just happen. Whether your joint mission is to build a great company, coach a team, improve the government, do something spectacular for a charity, or any other worthy goal, all successful partnerships share the same crucial ingredients. The second article, External Collaboration: When You Can't Do It All, looks at some of the companies in the engagement marketplace that have successfully used collaboration to expand their reach through alliances and partnerships. To make sure you get your copy of Engagement Strategies Magazine, go to www.enterpriseengagement.org/account/login/ and update your subscription today!
Sue Gordon has been with American Airlines for over 20 years. As a result of her vast and varied experience, she not only knows American Airlines and the American Way very well, she also understands very clearly how the company's internal communications and branding efforts work to promote employee engagement and employee retention, while at the same time contributing to a more positive customer experience. In other words, she's seen it all – what works and what doesn't. "From 2001 to today, our industry has essentially been in turmoil," she says. "But we found the most traction by involving employees in the business. This is where we've seen the greatest process improvements and the greatest cost savings. It's where we get our best ideas and the greatest amount of buy-in, by involving our employees from soup to nuts in the process." Read more in the next issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine – coming in May.
One of the greatest opportunities to increase corporate profits – and subsequently boost the economy – lies in motivating workforces to improve performance, drive greater customer engagement and ultimately increase revenue, according to a new report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is a coalition of companies and associations dedicated to promoting the importance of engagement, founded last year by the Human Capital Institute, Peppers & Rogers Group, 1to1® Media and Selling Communications, Inc. Entitled The Economics of Engagement, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to. "One of the most encouraging findings of this report is the revelation that vast reserves of overall performance potential are essentially hiding in plain sight," says Bruce Bolger of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. "Engaging the people that companies deal with on a day-to-day basis – both internally and externally – in a comprehensive, compelling and connected way will create a result that is more than just the sum of its parts. Naturally, as with any such investment, the return needs to be demonstrated to decision makers, and there's a growing body of evidence in the engagement arena that does just that." Get your copy of the report >
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